Documents recently released by the British National Archives have revealed the extent of debate among British diplomats over the fate of “Jewish refugees fleeing the ashes of post-war Germany” (‘Documents reveal historic debate over Jewish refugees,’ Israel National News, 14 May 2008 http://www.israelnationalnews. com/News/News.aspx/126066). Many officials warned that Britain would face “a public relations nightmare” if it refused to allow them to enter Palestine during the British Mandate.

Nevertheless, in 1947 the British forced the ship Exodus carrying more than 4,500 Holocaust survivors to return to Germany. The documents reveal that many officials were concerned about the adverse publicity that would be caused by sending Jews back to the Britishcontrolled zone in Germany so soon after the Holocaust had ravaged the Jewish people.

In August 1947, a British diplomat in France sent a cable stating: “You will realize that an announcement of decision to send immigrants back to Germany will produce violent hostile outburst in the press.” The documents reveal that the return of the Exodus was an operational success but a military failure. With the creation of the State of Israel in the following year, however, the refugees were able to freely enter the land.

At that time, sympathy was on the side of the Jews and their aspirations for a state of their own in Palestine. Although Jewish terrorist groups were operating against the Arabs and the British, causing widespread death and destruction, the United Nations gave its support to the partition plan which soon after resulted in the creation of the State of Israel.

Israel has always had its critics, but today they are louder than ever. For sixty years, Israel has been fighting for survival in a hostile region and little has changed, except that the world now perceives Israel as the aggressor. Violence and injustice are part of all human conflict and, while we do not justify Israel’s actions toward the Palestinians, it would be unfortunate if we were influenced by the world’s attitude toward Israel. Our sympathy for Israel does not mean that we endorse Israel’s actions which God will judge in due time.

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 The Haganah ship Exodus

Modern Israel’s establishment and survival is of God (Jer 30:3). It is the great and unmistakable sign of Christ’s return to the earth (Luke 21:29–31). “I will bless them that bless thee”, says our God (Gen 12:3). By remembering Israel in our prayers we show our appreciation to the God of Israel for calling us to share Israel’s spiritual blessings (Rom 15:27).

Watch your head!

Stones of Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the so-called Wailing Wall, are in danger of crumbling, says Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the rabbi of the Western Wall (“Western Wall stones in danger of crumbling”, Jerusalem Post, 14 April 2008 http:// www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=12081797151 26&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull). The danger does not come from the ancient stones that date back to Herod the Great’s construction, but from the more recent upper section of the wall. It is not certain when this section was built. Some believe that it was built by the British philanthropist and financier Sir Moses Montefiore in an attempt to repair the site in the 19th century.

Brother Leen Ritmeyer offers the following explanation as to why the wall is crumbling:

“Ancient walls were built with stone courses on both sides of the wall and a fill in between. This fill should have been made up of a hard core fill of broken stones set in lime, but often soil was mixed in with it. When it rains the walls get wet, including the inner fill. The ancient mortar, made of lime and an aggregate, such as sand, gravel or sometimes ground up pottery, is porous and lets the water seep out through the gaps in between the stones. Such walls can ‘breathe’ as it were.

“Over the last 30 years or so, an extensive programme has been going on on the Temple Mount, where old walls were refaced with new stone and the joints in between stone courses of old buildings have been filled with Portland cement. This modern cement is very hard and seals off the spaces in between the stones. Walls still absorb rain water, because stone is porous. However, once the inner core is wet, the water cannot seep out, causing a swelling inside the wall itself. Over time, more water is absorbed until the swelling is so large that it causes one of the sides of the wall to bulge, usually the outer side, as there is no counter pressure. Individual stones can be crushed by the movement of the stones. This is the cause of the crumbling and bulging of the upper parts of the Temple Mount walls and also of other buildings on the mount itself. If this situation remains unchecked, more sections of the walls will bulge, crumble and eventually collapse. So, watch your head when you stand at the foot of the Western Wall!” (http://blog.ritmeyer.com/2008/04/17/westernwall- stones-crumbling/ )

Today the Western Wall in Jerusalem is the centre of Jewish worship, but in the future vast topographical changes will occur which will exalt Jerusalem and destroy the remnants of Herod’s Temple. In those days, Jews and Gentiles shall go up to Jerusalem to worship at the house of prayer for all nations (Isa 56:7), and rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ their Saviour and King.